On normal days

I woke up this morning with my brain full of dread.

I’ve typed that sentence a couple times now, and each time, my hands give me “dream” for that last word. That my hands seem built for magical realism is a small kindness, a sort of reliable antidote to the repetitive panicky memoir preferred by the anxiety-ridden part of my brain.

Dread, however, is preferable to panic, which was my companion upon waking for years. Before I started to build a life that strives toward silliness and calm, I was up to a few panic attacks a week, with more limited-symptom attacks piled on. Dread is easy. Dread doesn’t make my brain scream at me to run and hide. Dread speaks in a whisper, spewing premonitions that the day ahead will be the worst kind of slog, in no small part because that’s all I deserve.

Luckily, it’s easier to argue with a whisper than a scream.

This morning, aided by years of therapy and effort, as well as the right combination of meds, I whispered back. The words were simple—I’m worthy of calmness, I’m worthy of building joy, I am loved, I have power. I have no idea whether I actually believed those at the time, but still, I argued.

I argued.

I lived through a childhood of trauma, and my brain is hardwired for anxiety and depression. I cannot do a thing to change either of those facts.

But I can fight against it. I can fight to create and witness joy. I can fight to create and witness whimsy.

And I can chronicle it, for my benefit and maybe yours, clandestine reader.

Welcome to a fight fought with music and morning whispers, with Koosh balls and kindness, with snail mail and thoughtful words and coloring books.

Welcome, welcome, welcome.


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